Snapshot of my life

Okay, I have a pet peeve.

America is self-destructing and Facebook is still marketing garbage to me.

Cheap dresses from China.

False eyelashes from all over.

Strange oddities from Wish.com (like a vaginal steamer).

Who does Facebook think I am?

Gwyneth Paltrow?

Amidst all this chaos, I am continuing my regular rituals of getting up early, going to work (from my dining room), and working on costumes.

The Egyptian slave costume is finished and I’m happy to say that my friend Nadine has a matching outfit.

So on to the next costume – an angel outfit complete with halo and wings.

It’s what I do to keep the anxiety at bay.

I’m also looking into online MBA programs offered by UC Davis, San Jose State, and Purdue Global.

The good news is that all these programs look affordable and reasonable for me to be accepted into.

The bad news is I have to take 2 semesters of economics and one semester of statistics to meet the prerequisites of applying.

Maybe also an algebra class (something I tested out of in high school when I took college calculus as a senior).

So there you have it – a snapshot into my life as it exists right now.

So, the car fire. . .

As we’re leaving Middletown after our hot air balloon ride (the same Middletown which burnt to the ground in the Valley Fire of 2015), we’re driving down this windy mountain road when all of a sudden we’re driving through smoke.

WTF?!

We come around a blind curve to find a white van pulled to the side of the road and FIRE IS DRIPPING FROM ITS UNDERCARRIAGE.

Jeff, my sexy pilot, pulls our car over and jumps out.

He runs to the van where PEOPLE ARE SITTING INSIDE.

“Get out!” he yells.

No one moves.

“Get out of the car!” he tries again.

Still, no one moves.

One last time, “Get out of the car it’s on FIRE!!!”

The car occupants obviously understood the word “FIRE” because they jumped out of the car.

That’s when Jeff, the hero of this story and my current crush, jumped INTO the burning vehicle.

He moved it away from the dry brush it was near and away from overhanging trees so that it wouldn’t catch the forest on fire.

Again.

Because what Middletown really DOESN’T need is another forest fire.

In the end, there was nothing to do but let the car burn.

Jeff ushered us back in our car and we left the scene.

About 5 minutes into our drive we finally passed 2 fire trucks coming up the grade to deal with the fire.

I can only image what the scene must’ve looked like by then.

Here is the picture I took of the car fire.

Notice Jeff literally flying in from the right side (dressed in khakis) to save the day.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, “Is he single?”

And the answer is no, he’s married.

But a girl can fantasize.

car fire

Balloon Adventure Chronicles: The Sewage Treatment Plant and Fire Fallout

balloonMy hot air balloon ride adventure began when the van I was in got pulled over for having expired tags.

Whoah!

The cop was in a foul mood and actually yelled at the hot air balloon owner/operator a few times.

Not nice.

Anyway, the error got sorted out and we were on our way, me sitting next to a very chatty driver named Ben.

Once we established that I was indeed taking a romantic hot air balloon ride BY MYSELF, he was all friendly and even told me I looked like Anna Nicole Smith.

Yes, I get that, I told him.

So we drive all the way to Middletown to escape the low laying fog in Sonoma.

You remember Middletown?

It burned to the ground in the Valley Fire of 2015.

Middletown fireSo that was our scenery when 30+ of us took off in three separate hot air balloons.

Oh, did I mention the sewage treatment plant? Yes, there was a sewage treatment pond below us as we surveyed the barren, blackened landscape.

sewageWas I freaked out?

A little, but not as bad as I thought I would be.

The sound of the propane jets gave me the willies, but overall it was a nice, floaty, pleasant hour long ride.

balloonMy balloon was named Bliss and it was a rainbow which I LOVED.

My pilot was a hot, bearded fellow named Jeff and I loved him too.

pilot jeffNot just because he was a good pilot and a funny guy, but because he handled the CAR FIRE WHICH FOLLOWED SO WELL.

More on that later. . .

IMG_9871 IMG_9850

 

 

SoulFire 2016: The Heatstroke Chronicles

white witch michelleMaybe it was just me.

Maybe everyone else did just fine.

But I managed to get myself good and overheated as well as dehydrated at SoulFire TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Tejas and I arrived on Friday at 10 am and set up camp in the heat. Once camp was set up we drank rum and cokes until I started to worry that I wasn’t getting enough liquid so I drank 3 diet cokes.

Just a word of advice: Diet Coke DOES NOT PREVENT DEHYDRATION.

No it does not.

Because at about 9 pm after battling a dehydration headache for about two hours, I gave up and went to bed with 3 Tylenol RIGHT WHEN THINGS WERE GETTING GOOD!

I laid there, freezing cold, wanting a bed partner to snuggle with while I recovered.

But no, there were no bed partners to be found.

I laid in bed until about 1 am, then got up to party only to find that the party was winding down.

So back to bed.

Try again another day.

Cue Saturday.

I’m drinking TONS of coconut water to keep me hydrated and yet with the 95 degree heat I still manage to overheat.

Dante took me to the Restaurant to sit in air conditioning and cool down.

I was dizzy walking up the hill to the Restaurant (even though I was wearing nothing but pink ruffled panties and a crochet bikini fringe top).

There was an art exhibit going on in the Restaurant and I found that if I positioned myself just right I could stare at a picture of a dolphin while the vent blew cold air up my butt.

It was amazing!

So, lessons learned:

Diet Coke is not the same as water

Coconut juice will not prevent overheating

Do what you need to take care of yourself

However, if you fuck up (like me) then friends are so helpful when you’re not feeling well.

Love to Tejas for giving me Tylenol and love to Dante for cooling me down.

michelle and tejas

Critter Cam

I’m so enamored of my Critter Café that I decided to buy a critter camera to watch the animals.

It’s even got night vision and a motion sensor so I can see what goes on when the sun goes down.

Am I feeding deer and raccoons?

I could really get used to this homesteading thing.

It’s so enjoyable to work from home and have everything I need to do my job and manage my life all in one place.

Tired?

Take a nap for lunch.

Hungry?

Grab a quick snack from the fridge.

Today, because I was at home, I did my good deed for the day.

I rescued my neighbor’s dog, Lady Jane.

Lady Jane, a golden miniature poodle, ran into our garage and acted skittish.

It was hard to get my hands on her.

Until I said the magic words. . .

“Go for a walk?”

She made a beeline for me and laid down right in front of me, presenting me with her belly.

I scooped her up and delivered her to the neighbor, who has no idea she’d gotten out.

Crisis averted.

I’ve definitely got a thing for our four-legged companions.

More than anything, I’d love to get another dog or a cat.

But since I plan to move out in a few years and I know rentals that allow pets are hard to come by, I’m refraining from adopting.

I’ll just have to be satisfied with my old cat and my critter cam.

Can’t wait to see what shows up on my critter cam!

Feel free to poach

Honestly, when I decided to do a boudoir photo shoot in 2014, I impressed myself.

I did it not because there was some man I wanted to impress, no.

I did it because my initial reaction to seeing the boudoir photoshoot advertisement was “HELL NO!”

Then I paused and realized I didn’t want fear to hold me back.

So I signed myself up.

It was my BIG ADVENTURE of 2014.

Incidentally, Burning Man was my big adventure of 2015 and it BLEW MY BOUDOIR PHOTO SHOOT OUT OF THE WATER!

So today I cleaned one of my lingerie drawers and I came across PILES of lingerie I bought for my photo shoot.

So I did what any hot blooded American woman would do. . .

I put on my boudoir playlist on Spotify and listened to songs like:

Ooh La La by Goldfrapp

Red Riding Hood by Elysian Fields

Glory Box by Portishead

And the quintessential strip tune (thanks to Kim Basinger in Nine and a Half Weeks) You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker.

I mean, what’s not to like about a man who can sing AND has a last name of Cocker?!

So here it is, in all its glory – MY BOUDOIR PLAYLIST.

Feel free to poach songs for your own photo shoot.

Just in time for Mother’s Day

I made another quilt.

It’s not finished yet, but the top has been pieced together.

It’s a quilt I made using ten inch white fabric squares and fabric markers.

I supplied my nephews with the squares and markers and they designed 12 unique designs to incorporate into the quilt.  Here are two:

I sewed a simple window pane pattern around the squares and I must say, I think the quilt turned out lovely.

It was really simple to do and I followed only the pattern in my head to make it.

Took just a few hours for me to pull together.

Here are the supplies I used:

Ten inch cotton squares (also known as a layer cake):

If you’d like, you can also use five inch cotton squares (also known as a charm pack):

Fabric markers – get the ones with fine point and chisel point tips for drawing lines and filling in space:

Add a little love and magic and voila!

You have yourself a charming quilt.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, I might add.

Shangri-La

Michelle’s All-You-Can-Eat Critter Buffet is open for business and let me tell you this. . .

The critters are FLOCKING to it!

I’ve seen squirrels, finches, ravens and even a mouse or two snacking at the 24-hour café.

One small problem.

The ravens overwhelm the little birds when they are there.

Free food is great for the ravens but it saddens me to see the little birds kicked out of the café.

So I bought a bird feeder for SMALL birds and hung it in front of my living room window.

I filled it with small bird feed and would you believe it after just a mere 30 minutes, the little birds found it and started snacking?

This Shelter-In-Place order is doing funny things to me.

I’m homesteading!

Suddenly I’m aware of the wildlife around me, as I never have been before.

I want to help make my backyard a mecca for them.

Someplace they can go for an easy meal and safety.

[Of course, this assumes my old cat won’t go back to being the lethal death force that he was now that he’s in his declining years.]

I can’t take credit completely for my newfound interest in wildlife.

I must thank my friend Frosty Paws whose Facebook posts inspired me to follow in her footsteps to create a critter Shangri-La in my backyard.

Let me encourage each and every one of you to try this out in your own backyard.

It’s so exciting to see the little animals flock to the food!

Given how much we consume of natural resources, it sure is nice to give back in a small way.

Next up on Michelle’s List of Homesteading To-Dos:  Build a bee house!

No excuse to be bored

All right I’m just going to come out an admit it.

I’m living in pajamas right now.

Like BIG TIME!

Sheltering at home may be necessary but it’s screwing with my head.

I can barely tell what day it is.

All the weekdays blend into one and each one is pretty similar to the one before it.

I’ve developed some habits that are helping relieve the boredom.

After all, I think boredom is just indicative of an inactive mind.

Plenty to do to stay engaged and alert.

My favorite thing now is to go for a walk.

It gets my heart pumping and exposes me to sunlight and cool breezes.

What’s not to love about a hike?

And if you call a friend then you have someone to chat with and you can catch up on the latest news while exercising your body.

Win, win!

I also enjoy playing the piano.

Funny because I left it alone for 20 years, but I can honestly say now that I’m appreciative of my parents pushing me to learn when I was a very reluctant student all those years ago.

Craft projects come in a close third along with costuming.

For me, crafting means breaking out my sewing machine and making quilts while costuming means going online and finding key pieces for my wardrobe of costumes.

My favorite place to source unique one-of-a-kind pieces and custom work is etsy.

And here are some craft projects that have been tempting me:

In addition, I’ve been enjoying growing plants from seeds indoors to transplant into the garden.

This sunflower kit really appeals to me (so much so I gave it as a gift to someone special):

But also you can grow herbs for cooking, to be transplanted outdoor or kept on your window sill:

Finally, my final suggestion is to learn a new language.

Who doesn’t need to learn Spanish, or French?

Even just become capable of basic conversation and comprehension.

If you hear me say I’m bored, remind me that there is a world of entertainment out there and I’ve got no excuse to be bored.

Just call me Dr. Doolittle

A friend of mine has been rehabilitating injured squirrels.

She feeds them in her yard and every now and then, a squirrel shows up recovering from a nasty wound or injury.

I started thinking of my own park-like backyard.

Our yard is shaped like a slice of pie, with lots of acreage in the backyard.

Many creatures call it home, including birds, rabbits, squirrels, skunks, coyote, possums and snakes.

The other day, a squirrel sat on our picnic table, licking water off its surface and that got me thinking. . .

Maybe I should put food out for our little critters.

It would be nice to look out the window and see my wild “neighbors” enjoying a snack I’ve provided.

I think it’s relatively inexpensive to put food out for them.

A fifteen-pound bag of critter food is less than twenty dollars.

Think of all the happy animals a fifteen-pound bag of food can feed!

I guess I’m in a mood to take care of others right now.

First, I baked chocolate chip cookies for my kids.

Next, I’m turning into Dr. Doolittle and taking care of the animals.